In what is undoubtedly the biggest fight week of his career, ONE lightweight champion Christian “The Warrior” Lee has an opportunity to cement himself as one of the greatest MMA fighters to ever enter the ONE Championship circle.
This Friday, November 18, Lee will take the biggest and boldest step of his career when he moves up a division to challenge ONE welterweight champion Kiamrian Abbasov for the gold at ONE on Prime Video 4.
Lee will find himself in familiar territory for this potential career milestone, with the bout taking place at the Singapore Indoor Stadium – a venue he has gotten to know very well over the course of his ONE Championship tenure.
In fact, Lee originally defeated Shinya Aoki for the ONE lightweight title at the venue in May 2019, and he reclaimed the belt from the man he lost it to in controversial fashion – Ok Rae Yoon – in that very same arena this past August.
The welterweight itle shot isn’t an opportunity he has just been handed, though. It’s something he’s worked tremendously hard for.
“Every performance is your biggest performance. And going into this fight, this is everything,” he said.
“Everything that I’ve worked towards has led to this moment, so yeah, definitely. This is going to be my biggest moment to date.”
The occasion comes in Lee’s 21st fight for ONE – a staggering accolade in itself that not many fighters will reach by the age of 24, and one that very few will manage to achieve overall. Lee made his promotional debut at 17 years old back in December 2015, finishing veteran David Meak in a mere 29 seconds, and he has been riding a wave of activity unlike any other fighter in the organisation.
In the seven-year span that has seen him capture 16 victories in the circle, the Singaporean-American has grown to become a fighting figure of his own.
Stemming from a fighting family, it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle. Whether it be a bigger fighting sibling or a legendary parent, MMA has seen this on multiple stages. Having a star-studded sister like ONE women’s atomweight champion Angela Lee, it would have been easy to have been caught in his sister’s shadow. However, “The Warrior’s” work ethic and fighting abilities have given him the platform to rise up on his own two feet and stand out in a division of his own.
Now, Lee faces the prospect of also becoming the first member of his fighting family to hold two titles simultaneously when he challenges Russian welterweight king Abbasov this Friday. The original plan was for Lee to enjoy some downtime during the tail end of 2022. But when the chance opened up for him to step up a weight and challenge for a second championship, he jumped at it.
“It sounded really nice to take some time off after reclaiming my title. But an opportunity like this is really just too big of a moment to let it just pass me by,” he said.
“Fighting for a second world title in a second weight division has always been a dream of mine since I started this sport. As soon as I healed up from my fight with Ok, I went right into training camp and I’ve been preparing ever since.”
Lee is well aware that Abbasov will be the slightly bigger man on Friday night, but the size differential is not a factor that concerns the lightweight champ, as he believes his abilities give him the chance to hang with the Russian, and the rest of the elite fighters in the welterweight division.
Lee has made a career from calling his shot and picking his moments expertly, and at ONE on Prime Video 4, he expects to pick up his biggest victory to date in highlight-reel fashion.
“My goal is always to finish my opponents in the first round,” Lee said.
“Technically speaking, I have to give Abbasov credit on how tough he is, but I think that I’m going to end up wearing him down and submitting him in the third round.”
ONE on Prime Video 4 takes place Friday, November 18. Check here for full broadcast details where you live.